Director Athina Rachel Tsangari’s name should be familiar to anyone who follows interna- tional cinema. Her brilliant feature Attenberg (MDFF 2011) was an international festival sensation that followed closely on the heels of the infamous New Greek Cinema masterpiece Dogtooth (MDFF 2010), which Tsangari produced. If you have seen either of those films then you may have an idea of what’s in store for you with her latest feature, Chevalier.
The film follows a group of six men who are on a fishing trip on a luxury boat in the Aegean waters off of the Greek coast. When a problem with the ship’s mechanics forces them to anchor in a safe harbor until repairs are made, the quickly bored men begin competing with each other over mundane daily activities. The game is called “Chevalier,” and the goal of it is to decide who is the best at everything, in general. The competition quickly flourishes into a full-fledged olympics of well... everything—grooming, singing, penis size comparisons, cooking skills, blood pressure, cleanliness, you name it.
Tsangari’s brilliant and darkly comic film is both an astute observation on the fragility of male ego and a Buñuelian satirization of the values of the upper class. As with her previous works, the viewing experience will leave you with more than a few indelible images, from the sublime to the absurd, locked in your mind for days and weeks to come. (J. Scott Braid)